In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country . . .

Mary, a pregnant, unwed teenager got out of Dodge – She fled far away from where people would know her – so that the scandal behind her could simmer down.

You don’t think there would be a scandal? Joseph was going to leave her before he heard from an angel. You don’t think there was talk? 

“Mary? I’ve seen her sneaking around with Panthera – that Roman Soldier. They think nobody sees them, but I’ve seen them. I know what they’ve been doing. It’s no wonder she went to “visit her cousin!”

The story of Mary and Panthera isn’t one I made up. It’s been circulating since at least the second century – written down by one called Celsus. Celsus was not a fan of Christianity.

The next time you feel like gossiping or somehow communicating your displeasure with someone who may have, or may not have, but you think they have, violated your code of what is morally acceptable, just stop.  Belittling someone in a "I know what she did" or "He should know better!" kind of way is unkind, not helpful, and sinful.  Just refuse to participate in dismissing anyone as unimportant.  It's been going on forever, it ruins people's lives, and it needs to stop.

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